Taking Back Sunday may be from the place that is famous for the renowned Amityville Horror House; but their comeback is only one that is to scream about with elated hysteria. With the band’s ‘classic’ five-piece line-up back for the third time, and with their new record ‘Happiness Is’ the first on a independent label in a decade, you could say this return is one filled with more just than your dollop of emo, pop punk and rock nostalgia. As the lion on their album artwork suggests, the Long Island legend’s sixth-studio offering is nothing less than an aptitude of strength and authority on a path of musical wanderlust.
The album’s opener of a short and sweet ‘Preface’ highlights in an instance the band’s move to a more mature sound and tonality. Its eerie, yet calming symphonic score takes to you the imaginary of walking through an enchanting land, creating a beautiful ambience, yet with a false sense reality. Its follower ‘Flicker, Fade’ bombards and destroys its predecessor as its anthemic nature with rapid percussion, and sophisticated vocals from frontman Adam Lazzara delight in an attempt to squall nostalgic tendencies, even if the influences from first album ‘Tell All Your Friends’ is evident.
Despite the nostalgia which is hard to let go of, ‘Happiness Is’ showcases an uplifting evolution to the current and future sound of Taking Back Sunday. ‘Stood A Chance’ acts as an epicentre of alternative rock exhilaration with its upbeat and captivating summer feel-good tone, despite lyrics that capture a much more memorable notion. The slower elegance from ‘Better Homes And Gardens’ follows suit in its use of stand out poignant lyrics that bring this band’s maturing musicality to light, but in such a way that maintains the cherished Taking Back Sunday emotion like never before.
Although stunning allure captures the ear in this record such as its closer ‘Nothing At All’ with its echoed acoustic and atmospheric complexion, it is the more aggressive tracks that are the true highlights. ‘Beat Up Car’ uses harmonious duet vocals between Lazzara and John Nolan that play off each other in the midst of changing time signatures and guitar goodness galore. ‘Like You Do’ elements of rock acrimony truly presents that this band are no longer twenty somethings, but a band whom have broken through the old and in with the new to give fans maybe not their favourite Taking Back Sunday record, but one of affirmity and contagious enjoyment. Happiness is, Taking Back Sunday.